Is Your Church Unified?

Is that even possible?
We’ve been looking at how we please God. 
We must be in the Word. See Is Your Soul Happy?
Looking at the world through His eyes. See Looking for the God Moment.
Looking for His works so we can thank Him. See Those Aha Moments.
That involves praying—acknowledging our need, accepting His answer, and thanking Him. See Are You Needy?

By reading His Word, we know we are to be in church.
Not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near. (Hebrews 10:25).

We do that, not to have a nice lunch together or great activities. 
We assemble to worship. 
What did the early church equate with worship? 
Reading the Word was crucial.
So was praying. 
There was communion. 
It was a time to worship.

They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship and to breaking of bread and to prayer. Acts 2:42.

Remember why we were created?
To please and enjoy God.
At church, we do that as a united body.

In I Corinthians 12, Paul admonishes the church to be of “one mind” though operating as many parts of that one body.

How does that one-mindedness happen?
In marriage, when God says “the two shall become one”, that doesn’t mean we think alike.
My husband and I will never think alike.
Some of his priorities would not be my choice ever.
Sometimes I can’t even think, I’m just a bundle of emotions.
His perspective adds great depth to my thoughts.
​His explanations make clear my muddy ideas.
As the years pass, as we know God better and each other, God has wrought our thoughts together. 
Not the same, but together.
Different roles, same goal.​
But God has told us, we are one.

The one body in marriage takes work, from both sides.
I have counseled many wives  that their direction, if continued, will tear their marriage apart. 
She wants a career; he wants a family and a wife to support him.
Children hinder her career. 
He concedes to her wishes, and loses his own and everyone is miserable.
Or they separate.

The world sees plenty of not “one-minded” marriages.
They don’t have the same goals, dreams and wishes.

When a city girl marries a country boy, she has no clue what cleaning out a barn means. 
She better learn. At least watch her husband.
Because that is what he loves.
Women are made to be man’s helpmeet.
Not the other way around.
That’s a principle in the Bible.
By following God’s Word, we find oneness.

Same with the church.

Being of one mind, does not mean we compromise the Word, or ignore Biblical principles so we can get along.
We will never be like-minded when we are disobedient to the Word of God.

Except if you want church to be like a mob.
They are like-minded— committed to lynching someone in anger.
But that doesn’t fulfill God’s purpose.

What we believe, we live. 
If our beliefs are not God-based, they will fail.

The more we saturate our lives in Scripture, the more our lives will reflect Christ.
That’s His Spirit at work in our lives using His Word.

As a church, if we are not studying God’s Word, our church is merely a club for lunch and socializing and maybe instruction on current events or thoughts about the Bible.
Church must be a time to read His Word.
The Israelites stood for the reading of the Law.
This was just for the reading.
They stood for hours.
Why? Out of respect for Whose Words it was. 
Churches today have lost the respect for the Word.
It's no longer a priority.
It's not even a need.
Without the Word to convict us of our need, we can be like-minded in a lot of things, like the world.

But the Word brings conviction.
By reading it corporately, The Word of God makes us accountable to God and to each other.

Each member stands before God as equals.
(Although leaders are judged with a higher standard. 
Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgment. James 3:1.)

When Peter did something wrong, Paul forcefully (albeit encouraging) corrected and rebuked him, with the intention they be united in one mind. 
But when Cephas (Peter) came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. Galatians 2:11-21.
But that one-ness didn’t come until Peter changed his actions and repented.

Like “iron sharpens iron” we are to correct, admonish, encourage, and rebuke our brothers  and sisters in Christ in love.
By being in the Word, the Spirit convicts of where we should change.

All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be adequate equipped for every good work. II Timothy 3:15. 

The Word is given for our correction—
That helps to achieve that “one mindedness.”
We all have rough edges we don’t see.
Rebukes can be forceful, but done in love with the purpose of fellowship, to bring that sister back in fellowship with others.
That doesn’t mean it won’t hurt.
Correcting is never joyous.

When my boys do something wrong, I do not encourage them with “Good job!”
I do not ignore truth for the sake of unity.
I do not compromise what God has said, so we can get along.
I must remove the action that hinders their harmful godly development.
But I don’t enjoy correcting my boys.
I sometimes felt like I cried more than they did over the discipline.
But the results brings us back into fellowship with each other and God.

If I would let their wrong act go, I would be disobeying God. 
The Bible says, If I do not correct my son, I hate my son.

Same with those we call brothers and sisters in the faith.
When iron is rubbed against iron, sparks fly.
And heat.
But the instruments are made sharper.
And able to function as they should.

Sin must be dwelt with, before oneness can be achieved.

His Spirit corrects wrong thinking and wrong acting.
​And gives unity.

Oneness is not man-made, but God-made.
Even the title of this article did not set well with me.
It isn't "my" church, it's God's.

But I finally conceded to the title with this point of correction.

That oneness of mind is not our mind seeking to unite with another.
The world should look at us and say, “You're different. Why?”
They will know us by our love.

Know how we do this without the Spirit?
We know we should love. So we force love.
We define love by certain actions, then do those actions. 
Like a rule-follower.
We shake everyone’s hands at church. 
We greet everyone.
We smile.
But we do it in our own strength.

We act loving.
But our thoughts are ugly.
That love does not come from God.
It is man-made.

God wants us to be so in-tune with Him that His love pours through us,
not spits out by our own struggle to do it.

The only way that will ever happen is to be in the Word and obeying it as His Spirit directs.

As we pour into God’s Word, we see more of Who He is. 
And what we are not.
We can’t love our brothers.
We must admit our need for God’s help.
And, just like in our personal lives, as we acknowledge our great need, God gives.

In the church’s example, God gives a Spirit of oneness.
Not man-made, but only from God.
We won’t have to tell anyone about it.
The world will know it.
And God will be pleased.

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I write about what you---
women, wives and moms---
about your family, faith and future.
I write about what's hard, what helps and what heals.
I show you how it's done. And not done.
I hold your hand as you find what matters to the Savior.
And let go of those things that mattered to you, but not to Him.
I write about what Him.
               Sonya Contreras

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More faith articles are found here:
under the Table of Contents. Also available in book form.
Or here:
under the Table of Contents. Also available in book form.
Articles on Suffering can be found  here, 
under Table of Contents. Also available in book form.
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Author of Biblical fiction, married to my best friend, and challenged by eight sons’ growing pains as I write about what matters.

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